I am just waiting to meet the right guy: Minissha Lamba
You wanted to be a journalist. How did you land up in Bollywood?
Since I wanted to be a journalist, I prepared myself well for the field. I completed my honours in English — but maybe destiny had different plans for me. When I was in my final year of graduation, I was offered various ad campaigns. While shooting for one such commercial, Shoojit Sircar (who was directing the ad) approached me for his movie, Yahaan (her debut opposite Jimmy Shergill), and there was no looking back!
You’ve travelled extensively as a child since your father was in the hospitality business. What was that like?
I’ve grown up in conservative places. My formative years were spent in Chennai and then we moved to Kashmir, which is very traditional. But luckily my parents never bogged us down with rigid diktats. They’ve been liberal and have always allowed my brother and me to choose the life we wish to lead. There were never any societal pressures we had to succumb to.
What kind of roles interest you?
I like playing different characters. For example, I played a girl-next-door in Yahaan, a sexy girl in Kidnap, a village belle in Zila Ghaziabad and a journalist in Joker. Since I enjoy acting, I am game to try out various roles. But I would love to portray Meryl Streep’s character in The Iron Lady or Michelle Williams’ in My Week with Marilyn.
You’ve always had a girl-next-door image. Your sexy avatar in Kidnap didn’t go down well with the audience…
Who said it didn’t work? People were talking about it when the movie released. I’ve received positive as well as negative feedback for it, but this happens to everyone when they try doing something new. I did not do the role simply for an image makeover. I did it because it was different from the characters I’ve played on-screen so far.
We haven’t seen you on the big screen since Joker. Are you happy with the way your career is shaping up?
One needs to understand that it is not the quantity but the quality of work that matters. I can sign 10 films and be busy throughout the year, but if the character or the movie doesn’t satisfy me as an actress, what use is it? I take time to choose my movies. The audience will see me in quality roles now.
Are actresses being forced to play second fiddle to actors these days?
Yes, I don’t see anything wrong with that. The day women-oriented films start raking in big bucks at the box-office, we’ll have more producers and directors offering meaty roles to actresses. But to have more of these films, we need the audience to be interested in them. Until that happens, I don’t see why any producer would want to put his money where he isn’t sure of getting returns.
You’ve been paired opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui in your next movie. Are you nervous about the unconventional pairing?
Having an unconventional pairing is the ‘in’ thing in Bollywood. For example, Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan in Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu or Konkona Sen Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor in Wake Up Sid! And now, Nawazuddin and I are joining the league! He is an amazing actor and a very confident man, so there’s no question of being nervous of working with him.
According to a tabloid, you underwent reverse surgery to get back to your cute girl-next-door image..
It’s alarming how people make easy assumptions about you! Surgery is not a wardrobe change that one ends up doing just because it’s the new fad.
For a recent photo shoot last year, you were reluctant to pose in a bikini. Was it to protect your innocent image?
I did not say no for the shoot. It was just that the pictures they sent me for reference were too over-the-top; I was uncomfortable with that. Luckily, when we took a few test shots, the photographer as well as the creative head of the magazine agreed that we needed to tone down the concept.
While coming back from the Cannes Film Festival last year, you were detained at the airport. Do you think you were targeted just because you are a celebrity?
I won’t deny that I was targeted just because I am a celebrity. I only wish that our government uses its resources to catch criminals and doesn’t make soft targets out of uninformed travellers just for some print space or promotion.
You were also in the news for dating cricketer Andrew Symonds…
I am not dating anyone. Andrew is just a good friend. He happened to be in town when I celebrated my birthday.
You were also linked to cricketer Sreesanth…
Both of us laughed about it when we read that. If only life was so easy that you start dating someone the day after you meet that person! Jokes apart, such fake reports make it even more difficult for two people to remain friends. Sreesanth is a very sweet and saaf dil insaan.
Are you seeing someone currently?
I have always told the press that I am single. This is a conscious decision, not because I am boring or don’t want to date someone but because even if I am with a man, I don’t want my happiness or heartbreak to be a matter of easy reading for the public. I have dated previously — men who were wrong for me and for whom I was wrong. I am just waiting to meet the right guy. That shall be the day when I shout out to the world from rooftops.
What is your idea of romance?
I am not conservative when it comes to romance. For me, it’s about passion interspersed with space. I wouldn’t go for a candlelight dinner on a date; instead I would choose adventure sports like rock climbing or a long drive. Being close and doing things together enhances a relationship.
Who are the most stylish people in the industry?
Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan are the most stylish men while Kareena Kapoor Khan and Deepika Padukone are the most well-dressed and gorgeous women.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love travelling and reading books when I am not shooting. I have a small library at home where I have stocked about 300 books of different genres.